Winter Storm, Russia, NFL: Your Weekend Briefing

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Here are the main stories of the week and a look ahead.

1. The East Coast is emerging from a major winter storm.

After dropping a blanket of snow over parts of New York and New Jersey yesterday – up to 18 inches over parts of Long Island – the ‘bomb cyclone’ has moved northeast, bringing gusty winds wind, flooding and near-record snowfall in New England. Thousands of flights have been canceled along the coast.

Nearly 70,000 households were without power in Massachusetts, particularly on Cape Cod and nearby islands, where high winds made it difficult to restore power. As many as 30 inches of snow had fallen in parts of Massachusetts, while Boston had about two feet. The storm drew comparisons to the nightmarish blizzard of 1978, which buried the city in more than 27 inches of snow.

2. The toughest sanctions the US threatens to impose on Moscow if it invades Ukraine could upset the entire Russian economy, but also that of other nations.

The economic measures could cause high inflation, a stock market crash and financial panic in a way that would inevitably affect daily life in Russia. The response promised by US officials could upend major economies, particularly those in Europe, and even threaten the stability of the global financial system, analysts say.

3. For years, Democrats have complained about Republicans spending millions on black money. Then they used the same tactic to win in 2020.

A Times analysis has revealed how the left has outplayed the right in raising and spending millions from undisclosed donors to defeat Donald Trump.

Tax returns and other data show 15 of the most politically active nonprofits that generally align with the Democratic Party spent more than $1.5 billion in 2020, up from about $900 million spent by a comparable sample of GOP-aligned groups.

Gerrymandering is another tool that political parties can use to their advantage. We have created a game to help you figure it out.

4. Covid vaccination rates have stagnated in a group crucial to ending the pandemic: children.

According to a new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 18.8% of children aged 5 to 11 are now fully vaccinated and only 28.1% have received a dose. The disparity between states is stark. In Vermont, 52% of young children are fully immunized; in Mississippi, it is 6%.

With adult vaccination reaching a ceiling, unvaccinated primary school children remain a significant and turbulent source of spread. Vaccine advocates are trying new tactics to reach hesitant parents. A director calls the families every day.

The pandemic has changed children. Some cannot shake the feeling of instability. Others assume adult responsibilities. And anxiety is everywhere. That’s what it’s like to be a student right now.


5. China has introduced a wide range of high-tech checks as part of its efforts to stop Covid. The consequences can last.

Over the past two years, the Chinese government has honed its powers to track and encircle people, backed by advanced technology, armies of neighborhood workers and broad public support. A health app has been key to China’s goal of eradicating the coronavirus entirely within its borders.

Now Chinese officials are turning their heightened scrutiny on corruption and dissent. This provides Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, with a powerful techno-authoritarian tool.

Containing Covid will be a top priority as athletes and journalists from around the world arrive in Beijing this week for the Winter Olympics. The opening ceremony is Friday. Here is a guide for each sport at the Games.


6. As Biden prepares to appoint the first black woman to the Supreme Court, the small elite group of black women lawyers and judges watch with complicated emotions.

According to some estimates, they may represent only 2% of the country’s 1.3 million lawyers. Now, for the first time in their lives, someone who looks like them — and who has likely experienced similar career challenges — could make it to the Supreme Court. “Finally,” said a lawyer. “We now have the possibility of a Supreme Court that is more like America.”

But with this excitement comes frustration because it took more than two centuries for this moment to arrive.

While Democrats have the majority they need to install a new justice entirely on their own, a battle is still likely over Biden’s choice to replace Justice Stephen Breyer.


7. Rafael Nadal is in contention for his 21st Grand Slam title this morning at the Australian Open, where he faces Daniil Medvedev in the championship match.

Sunday’s duel is a rematch of the 2019 US Open final, which Nadal won in a grueling five sets over nearly five hours after Medvedev rallied from a two-set deficit. Nadal, 35, returned from a foot injury last year and is trying to overtake longtime rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, who each have 20 Grand Slam titles.

10. And finally, a goodbye.

After three years of guiding you through the weekend news, today is my last day as editor of your Weekend Briefing.

My mission through it all has been simple: to bring you a stable voice in uncertain times, a glimpse into new worlds, and something to smile about. It’s been a journey and thank you for sticking by my side (even when I decided to ditch the melted cheese).

Looking ahead: My colleagues at The Morning have something special in store for you starting next week. In the meantime, you can continue to follow me every weeknight on The Evening Briefing.

Have a meaningful week.


Marcus Payadue photos compiled for this briefing.

Your weekend briefing is released Sunday at 6:30 a.m. EST.

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